Walter Rogers, co-founder of CCI Global Holdings, and Wayne McCulloch, senior vice president of Salesforce.com University, say that evolving technology can help improve not only the potential but the bottom line sales efforts of dedicated professionals.
Q: How does learning need to adapt to meet the needs of sales professionals?
ROGERS: The relevance of the messages and content delivered to learners has never been more important. Sales professionals are drowning in a sea of information and increasing demands. And more importantly, as customers become more and more knowledgeable about solutions that can help solve their pains, sellers must increase their ability to go very deep on industry-specific issues and how their solutions map to those issues.
Every industry is going through major transformation, and remaining current is becoming increasingly difficult. Sales enablement functions must not only deliver the latest and greatest information, but they must also do so on a rapidly changing environment. The days of “one and done” have come to an end. Learning content delivered needs to be both explicit (based on user requests based on known needs) and implicit (based on the user-demonstrated behavior).
Q: How is technology evolving to meet these needs?
McCULLOCH: Capturing and retaining knowledge is becoming more and more difficult. Traditional training methods are rapidly being replaced by just-in-time, in-context, learner-focused knowledge nuggets with immediate application. While there will probably always be a role for formal classroom training, new technologies like salesforce.com and KnowledgeNow are eliminating barriers to learning and maximizing the opportunity for knowledge sharing, capture and implementation. Recording PowerPoint voice-overs is simply not going to meet the needs of today’s or future learners.
Rapidly adapting learning is the ultimate and possibly final competitive advantage. Technology needs to catch up to this need. Learning must become adaptive in nature to personalize the learning experience for each employee. The technology for 1:1 learner journeys is possible today, and as learning professionals we need to look for ways to re-invent the way we serve our internal and external learning customers.
Q: What do you think is the next big thing in the learning ecosystem?
ROGERS: Peer-to-peer learning has increasingly become a staple in any highly effective learning strategy. Not only do systems need to be adaptive to individual needs, but they also need to enable collaboration and information sharing across teams, departments, functions, partners and customers: for example, Salesforce1 Chatter.
Social learning is now expected in most organizations. The next phase will be anchored by predictive intelligence based on the real-time analysis of behaviors of individuals and organizations. This predictive intelligence will serve up personalized learning that helps create targeted outcomes.
Q: Can you give us an example of predictive intelligence at work?
McCULLOCH: Sales managers could receive specific knowledge delivered to them on a mobile device based on the real-time status of their pipeline. Take this one step further, and the system will also deliver recommended learning paths for their sellers based on each seller’s individual performance across any measured sales metrics. As outcomes are achieved, systems will learn what worked and what didn’t — and continue to personalize the experience in order to continuously help individuals and organizations close gaps and grow.